Tag: Tony Jaa

Monday’s trailer: It’s a “Bangkok Knockout”

I saw Takashi Miike’s rather astonishing “13 Assassins” last night at the AFI Film Festival and, though I’ll be discussing it more later, let’s just say my affection for Asian action action films has been born anew. But first, the wondrous spirit of the 80s-90s golden age of Hong Kong cinema lives — in Thailand and directed by Panna Rittikrai, the martial arts choreographer of the Tony Jaa vehicle, “Ong Bak.” That movie had some pretty amazing sequences, but it sure looks like the ante has been upped considerably.

This trailer, by the way, is in Thai and has no subtitles, but never fears, it speaks the international language of gloriously arranged mayhem.

h/t /Film

Gore v. chills at the box office

I keep reading that the studios are reducing their outputs and that we’ll be seeing fewer new movies, but there’s sure no sign of it lately as we have another complicated week where, at least in theory, anything can happen. Still, the prognosticators agree that the latest entry in the first and longest running franchise in the sub-genre of torture-heavy horror, “Saw VI,” will likely win the week for Lionsgate.

On the other hand, there is also a consensus that the low-violence yet entirely potent chills of “Paranormal Activity” will be cutting into the Saw-bucks some also. Obviously, there is some audience crossover but, just as obviously, the most jaded gore hounds may find it beyond tame. I’ve already noted online the start of an inevitable backlash. I doubt this reaction will have the same angry potency that afflicted “The Blair Witch Project” so many moons ago. In that case, Lionsgate’s attempt to persuade less-savvy audiences that it might actually be real probably backfired later on, as did the over-hype of some of the early write-ups.

This time, Paramount has been more cleverly circumspect than the “Blair Witch” marketers, simply making the case that the modest video-movie can really scare the bejesus out of an audience. I’m here to tell you it can, even though I feel sure that not a single person I saw it with was under any delusion that what we were watching was not staged. Still, you see the violence-loving fanboys complaining at certain sites. I mean, how can a movie be scary if it lets you imagine the worst of it? How is that ever going to work?

It’s probably pretty obvious by now, especially from my post just before this one, that I prefer the “Paranormal” approach and will be rooting for it but, despite the still growing excitement around the movie, it’s the definite underdog as “Saw VI” will be opening in 3,036 theaters, while it’s competitor will be expanding to a mere 1,900. However, the outstanding per-screen averages that the film has been nailing could compensate if some horror audiences find the prospect of yet another ultra-brutality fest less than ultra-appealing.

Though it’s yet another family-friendly CGI animated film, this one based on a property at least some of us remember from our childhoods, hopes are not all that astronomically high for the next film. Summit’s “Astro Boy” is based on the best known creation of Japan’s “God of Manga” Osamu Tezuka, who basically invented both manga and anime as we now know them and who created some of the best comic books for adults that I’ve ever read. Of course, you’d never know from the horrendously lame gag at the end of the trailer or the often ugly CGI animation that ruins the beautiful 2-D (black and white, too!) of the early Tezuka cartoons as scene in the trailer. This appears to be another case of a studio adapting a property and missing what made the original work.


Continue reading »


Following the unprecedented success of “Ong-Bak” and “The Protector,” director Prachya Pinkaew was probably looking to get away from working with Tony Jaa on his next feature. Dropping one martial artist for another may not sound like much of a difference, but while new leading lady JeeJa Yanin doesn’t have the talent to match Jaa’s acrobatic fighting style, she’s a far better actor. It’s a trade-off that serves the movie well, because even though “Chocolate” is 90% action, the dramatic scenes that do exist work better as a result of her involvement. Yanin stars as Zen, an autistic girl who has learned to fight exclusively from watching martial arts movies. When her mother gets sick and can’t afford treatment, however, Zen sets out to collect payment from the various gangsters that owe her money. Desperate as it may be to inject some hint of character development into the proceedings, “Chocolate” is little more than a demo reel of some of the best action sequences that Asian cinema has to offer. Yanin may not be able to pull off some of the more impressive moves in Jaa’s arsenal, but she’s still a surprisingly capable fighter whose finest moment comes during a fight where she mimics Bruce Lee. It’s not the best action scene in the movie, but it’s exactly what makes “Chocolate” so much fun to watch.

Click to buy “Chocolate”

© 2023 Premium Hollywood

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑